It’s not that I’ve never found guys who meet my standards. Do you want to hear about my most successful relationship? His name was (and is) Macallister, and our relationship…was purely imaginary–the product of my own fabrication.
I pulled a Caroline Bingley and became obsessed with my older brother’s best friend. Now, that’s a line that (in our day) can’t really be crossed without it directly affecting the familial and the friend relationships. Not to get all Biblical on your asses, but all that stuff about forbidden fruit and temptation is valid.
I’ve been imagining my wedding since I was a little girl. And I’ve been imagining my Mr. Darcy since freshman year of high school. Luckily and unfortunately for me, both my dream husband and dream Darcy always coincided to be the same man–my brother’s best friend. (That’s the unfortunate part.)
So having spent nearly ten years of my life with my eyes fixated on a boy wrapped in yellow caution tap, I can now (more or less) see the error of my ways. It’s not so much that I ever loved him–I didn’t actually know him well enough to actually fall–but, rather, I loved the idea of him. He has that whole “tall, dark, and handsome” thing going for me (and he totally knows it, too), so I didn’t really ever stand a chance against his natural charms.
The unfortunate reality was that I spent ten years of my life obsessed with a Wickham, and didn’t fully realize it until typing out this sentence.
I spent years obsessing over the littlest things; the rare occasions when he would have a sleep over with my brother and they’d let me jump on the trampoline together; or a fleeting smile; or lingering eye contact that maybehinted to something like appreciation in his gaze?
My childhood best friend and I used to take “Does He Like You” quizzes online. Macallister was always my muse, and more often than not, I didn’t have enough content to properly answer the questions!
“Does he point his feet at you when he talks to you?” Ummm…I saw him three months ago, so I don’t remember. Why wouldn’t his feet be pointing at me?
“Do you ever catch him starting at you?” Shit. I don’t know. There was that one time…
You see my point. I’ve been this desperate disaster for such a long time now (since Kindergarten). How did it get this far? I think I can say it stems from my wild imagination–which as a writer is a good thing to have (in moderation).
If I want something bad enough, I’m somehow able to will it into existence. Take Macallister and my brother’s high school graduation parties. Mac’s party was in the morning. He looked so adorable in his white Hollister button down and J. Crew shorts. (Is anyone going to be surprised when I reveal he’s a huge frat boy now?) He used to be one of those guys out front of Hollister shirtless on Black Friday, if that helps you to mentally picture how well he pulled of their clothes (literally, because his job was to be shirtless).
Mac hugged me as we left his party–and obviously, I died inside. Plus, I got to see him later that same day at my brother’s party, where we had one of our longest conversations ever. When he was leaving my brother’s party, he hugged me two separate times. After he officially left, my best friend, who had been watching us, started giggling incessantly.
When I asked her what was so funny, she stared back at me incredulously, and said “He was staring at you for like five minutes trying to get your attention!”
I genuinely think that comment kept my obsession intact for at least another year and a half. Then we followed each other on Instagram, which just added fuel to the fire that was my all consuming obsession.
It just so happened that he studied abroad in Madrid last fall, the same city I’m traveling to this upcoming fall. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up, so I messaged him and asked if he could meet up to talk about his experience in Madrid. (Could you imagine if we’d studied abroad at the same time in Madrid. Talk about an affair to remember.)
We met at this super cute coffee shop, and chatted for two and a half hours. I was practically shaking the entire time. He was flirting and every once in a while when there was a lull in the conversation, there would be lingering eye contact and a nervous smile. Oddly enough, the best part was when the check came.
The check had been sitting on the counter for probably 3o minutes, so finally I reached for it, and took out my wallet. (I had decided I was going to pay in advance because I’m the one that asked him to meet.)
I pulled out my credit card to slide it in the slot, and he looked at me all confused, “I can get it.”
I laughed, “No it’s fine. I talked your ear off. I got it.”
“No, really. I can just get cash back…” I just shook my head and laughed, putting the bill back on the counter.
Then he looked at me and smiled, “I’ve never had a girl pay for me before.” (Here comes my shining moment.)
“I guess you’re just not hanging out with the right kind of girls.” He laughed, and replied, “I guess not!”
After that, we walked out to our cars, and hugged goodbye. When I got home, my brother’s first questions was “Did he kiss you?” Foolish me, I didn’t realize that was even an option.
Clearly, I’m still a recovering addict from this kid’s charms. Every once in a while, he’ll send me a Snap of him and his new puppy that sends me spiraling back to my “it’s gonna happen” or “what if…” mentality.
What I’m coming to realize is that a Wickham doesn’t ever really change. Yes. He’s adorable and can be really nice. But he also parties incredibly hard and sometimes acts in less than kind/noble/civil ways to his friends.
Reflecting on myself as a modern day Caroline Bingley (a character I never thought I could identify with), I see that obsession played a huge part in her pursuit of Mr. Darcy. I think she also had pride that convinced her she was entitled to a man like Darcy.
I think that’s the takeaway from this whole story–every woman deserves herversion of Mr. Darcy. We need to appreciate our own worth, and not settle for anything less than that. I like to think that even though Caroline didn’t get her Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice–because clearly Elizabeth Bennet and her “fine eyes” “bewitched him body and soul”–that she could find him someday. Caroline and Darcy weren’t the right fit for each other. Sometimes the perfect idea just isn’t perfect in reality.
The point is not to seek out the fictional Mr. Darcy, but to know that the real-life version is out there. And if you want to find him, you can’t just wait around and expect him to magically appear through this mist across the moors (all praise Matthew Macfadyen). Men like Mr. Darcy don’t come around every day, but I think when each of us finds him, we can finally give up the fantasy of the fictional man, and settle for the man snuggling beside us on the couch, who is totally okay with spending his Saturday night in watching the BBC Pride & Prejudice.